Lufthansa Airbus A340-600 - Photo by BriYYZ @ Flickr

What are Air Miles? Read our free guide to find out.

In today’s day and age, most shoppers like to be rewarded – in some way or other – for the purchases they make. Discount vouchers, loyalty cards and special offers are all popular with shoppers, but they can often only be redeemed with one retailer (i.e. the retailer offering the discount); leaving the customer tied to one shop.

That’s where Air Miles come in. Air Miles offer a flexible and wide-ranging rewards programme for shoppers.

The term ‘Air Miles’ refers to a rewards programme offered to people who make purchases through certain retailers.  But the question is, how do Air Miles work?

The scheme works as a ‘loyalty programme’ through which companies can reward their customers. To put it simply, when someone makes a purchase from a particular retailer, they are rewarded with a number of Air Miles – which can then be used against a number of goods or services offered by the original retailer or by other companies signed up to the scheme. Air Miles can also be used (as originally intended) to pay for flights, upgrades on pre-booked flights, hotel rooms – and many more travel services. The latter is thought to be the most popular use of Air Miles, particularly within the business community, where travelling by plane can be a very costly annual expense.

The Air Miles scheme was thought up by Sir Keith Mills back in 1988, and since then the scheme has grown considerably – more recently having being bought by Canadian firm Aeroplan.

How do I get Air Miles?

Back when Air Miles were introduced, they were primarily focused on the airline industry – with customers being rewarded for the miles they travelled with airlines.

This part of the scheme is still in place, and you can still collect Air Miles while travelling with a wide range of airlines.

Which airlines offer Air Miles?

There are companies, such as SACP, who offer businesses free membership and exclusive Air Miles deals when flights are booked through their participating airlines; so it’s always worth bearing this in mind – whether your business requires one flight a year or 100.

Airlines offering Air Miles include: Austrian Airlines, All Nippon Airways, Air Canada, Brussels Airlines, Lufthansa, SWISS International Air Lines, LOT Polish Airlines, TAP Portugal and Blue1. Of course, there are many more airlines that offer Air Miles, and this is merely a small selection.

Other ways of collecting Air Miles

Nowadays, Air Miles are a little more versatile and can be collected in a large number of ways. You can collect Air Miles at Shell petrol stations; just filling up your car can help you rack up the miles! What’s more, companies such as Southern Electric, Laithwaities, Llyods TSB and Tesco are now part of the Air Miles Scheme – so saving money on your shopping has never been easier either. The ways of collecting Air Miles is ever-expanding, so keep your eyes open for more ways to total up your miles!

Air Miles in other countries

On top of the popular and long-running Air Miles programme in the UK, there are a number of Air Miles schemes in operation in other countries. Unfortunately, as most Air Miles schemes are operated solely within their respective countries, you probably won’t be able to redeem your points from the UK, for example, in Spain.

An interesting video about how much 1,000,000 Air Miles could be worth – certainly worth watching!

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